NL-8: headless, multi scale, 8 string hybrid guitar

unique players need unique instruments


the NL-8

The NL-8 started as a concept presented to me by Sonoma county 8 string guitarist Nate Lopez. The challenge was to create a headless hollowbody hybrid guitar that was as small as possible and held itself in the same comfortable position when played sitting or standing.  The result is a unique instrument with a special story.

A hybrid guitar is essentially a guitar and bass combined on one neck.  This one has three bass strings tuned EAD and five guitar strings tuned ADGBE.  It has a three string bass and a five string guitar pickup custom made for this instrument by EMG pickups.  Each pickup has its own output to isolate the two distinct signals allowing Nate to use two amps and truly play guitar and bass at the same time.

This guitar presented me with an opportunity to continue Tom Ribbecke's tradition of creating instruments that hold special memories of loved ones.  Tom created the "Diana Bass" for Jack Casady as an homage to his beloved wife who had passed away.  An incredibly special instrument with a curl of her hair inside making her DNA a part of it.  

When we started talking about ideas for this guitar Nate's dog Teddy had recently passed away and he asked to make him a part of the instrument.   To connect this instrument with the tradition of the "Diana Bass" I was able to use a piece of Myrtle for the back and sides that was cut from Jack's front yard many years ago, given to Tom by Jack during the building of that first instrument.  To connect it to Teddy I incorporated Teddy's ashes into the  finish on the top of the guitar.  The color on the top is done entirely with ashes suspended in lacquer.  I am still amazed by how well that color compliments the natural color of the Myrtle.  It was meant to be.  


The Specs

  • Hand carved Sitka Spruce top
  • Myrtle back and sides
  • Solid Western Red Cedar linings and tone block
  • 5 piece Torrefied Maple and Myrtle neck
  • 8 strings (EAD bass) (ADGBE guitar)
  • Custom EMG pickups (3 string bass, 5 string guitar)
  • Separate outputs for bass and guitar strings with volume and tone controls for each
  • Headless hardware from T4M for standard ball end strings
  • 25"-29" scale lengths
  • 34" overall length
  • Bone nut
  • 2'' nut width
  • 2 3/4" string spacing at bridge
  • extra jumbo fret wire
  • Nate Lopez logo inlay
  • Side contour sound hole
  • Black plastic binding
  • Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish on top
  • Hand rubbed oil finish on back, sides, and neck
  • ergonomic body shape
  • Strap locks